The 49th annual Mr. Olympia takes place on September 26-29 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. A total of 22 bodybuilders have qualified for the competition. Five of those competitors earned their qualification spots at last year's Mr. Olympia as a result of their top five finishes at the contest. Those bodybuilders are two-time reigning Mr. Olympia champion Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Shawn Rhoden, Dexter Jackson and Branch Warren. All of these competitors, except for Jackson, have not yet competed in 2013 and are unlikely to do so until September for the Mr. Olympia. Heath is pretty much a guarantee not to compete until the Mr. O, as this has become customary of the reigning champion. As for Greene, Rhoden and Warren, it is probably a wise move to let their bodies peak for the big show in September.
Returning Mr. Olympia Champions
Jackson competed twice this year, winning the coveted Arnold Classic title for a record-tying fourth time in March and he followed that up with a victory down under at the Australian Pro, which also took place in March. Similar to the aforementioned three bodybuilders, it is safe to assume that Jackson will give his body a rest until the Mr. Olympia rolls around. He is one of three bodybuilders competing at the Mr. O this year that has already won it. As was previously mentioned, Heath is a two-time winner of the show, but there is a four-time winner who is making his big comeback to the stage this year: Jay Cutler. After suffering a tear to his biceps muscle in 2011, Cutler took time off to repair the injury and give his body a rest. Since Cutler has already won the Mr. Olympia, he is allowed to enter the contest any year he chooses, per the IFBB Pro League rules. So, Cutler does not have to qualify in order to step on stage this year or any year in the future.
Contest Winner Qualifiers
10 of the remaining 15 bodybuilders that have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Mr. Olympia this year did so by winning a pro show following the 2012 Mr. Olympia. These include the contests held in the months immediately following the Olympia in late 2012, along with the contests held in 2013. The bodybuilders that qualified in this manner are Dennis Wolf, Cedric McMillan, Brandon Curry, Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay, Victor Martinez, Robert Piotrkowicz, Roelly Winklaar, Evan Centopani, Steve Kuclo and Baitollah Abbaspour.
Olympia Qualification Series
The other five qualifications have been earned via the Olympia Qualification Series, which awards a qualification spot for the five competitors who attain the highest number of points throughout the contest season by placing in the second to fifth spots the most. The bodybuilders who placed in the top five in the points series are Toney Freeman, Johnnie Jackson, Ben Pakulski, Lionel Beyeke, Ed Nunn and Essa Obaid, the latter two whom are tied in fifth place. As a result of their top five finish, these bodybuilders have been guaranteed a spot in the lineup at the Mr. O.
2013 Mr. Olympia Qualifier List
Here is the finalized list of the competitors that have qualified for the 2013 Mr. Olympia. The bodybuilders are listed in alphabetical order and how they qualified for the contest is written in parentheses.
- Abbaspour, Baitollah (won the Nordic Pro Championships)
- Beyeke, Lionel (third place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Centopani, Evan (won the Tampa PBW Championships)
- Curry, Brandon (won the Arnold Classic Brazil)
- Cutler, Jay (former Mr. Olympia winner, does not need to qualify)
- Elssbiay, Mamdouh (won the New York Pro)
- Freeman, Toney (first place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Greene, Kai (second place at last year's Mr. Olympia)
- Heath, Phil (reigning Mr. Olympia champion)
- Jackson, Dexter (former Mr. Olympia winner)
- Jackson, Johnnie (second place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Kuclo, Steve (won the Dallas Europa Pro)
- Martinez, Victor (won the Toronto Pro)
- McMillan, Cedric (won the FIBO Power Pro)
- Nunn, Ed (tied fifth place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Obaid, Essa (tied fifth place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Pakulski, Ben (fourth place in the Olympia Qualification Series)
- Piotrkowicz, Robert (won the Mr. Europe Pro)
- Rhoden, Shawn (third place at last year's Mr. Olympia)
- Warren, Branch (fifth place at last year's Mr. Olympia)
- Winklaar, Roelly (won the Chicago Pro)
- Wolf, Dennis (won the EVLS Prague Pro)